Program EDUS: Focusing on Abilities Towards Better Education
The Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Peter Sorensen, accompanied by UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Zahira Virani and UNICEF Deputy Representative in BiH, Anne Claire Dufay, visited today EDUS program - Education for all on the occasion of the forthcoming World Autism Day (April 2). They were presented with achieved program results and the goals to be met in the forthcoming period.
Dr. Nirvana Pistoljevic, Scientist at Columbia University in New York and Deputy Director of EDUS, presented guests with the scientific methodology of applied behavior analysis which she has introduced after her arrival from USA in 2010 in several departments of the Mjedenica Institute and in 2012 in the EDUS Center for Early Intervention. Children also presented what they have learned and how they progressed using the methodology.
“All children have right to education. We do not want to focus on disabilities but on abilities. What we saw today is Centre of Excellency in BiH that many other countries would love to have. Early intervention can make difference and we fortunate to have such expertise in EDUS. The EU with its partners, UNDP, UNICEF and USAID support these efforts to create society that helps to vulnerable groups. This is really a good example of how the EU assistance can help“, stated Ambassador Sorensen after the visit.
So far, the services of EDUS program have been used by 250 children, and more than 170 children have received daily multidisciplinary treatment from 15-23 hrs weekly. The parents of children have been trained and trainings were also provided directly to experts (educators, speech therapists, counselors, psychologists, physiotherapists and social workers). The ultimate goal is to include as many children as possible in regular classes without help of assistants and for everyone to get the opportunity to achieve their full potential, using the principles of early intervention and advanced scientific practice.
“Thanks to UNDP and its programs LOD II and III, that has been supporting our work for four years, together with partners, City of Sarajevo and Municipality of Stari Grad, we are able to work with 68 children on daily basis in the classrooms of Mjedenica Institute”, stated Dr. Nirvana Pistoljevic, emphasizing the importance of support to this type of projects.
The EDUS program for advancement of education and support to children with developmental delays is ongoing for the fourth school year. It has been largely financed through the project “Improving conditions for the children with development delays”, which has been implemented through UNDP project “Reinforcement of Local Democracy III – LOD III”, a project funded by the European Union funds of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in the amount of 2,000,000 EUR.